Former McD’s CEO Key to Walgreens’ Global Plans

Discussion
Jul 13, 2012

Walgreens announced it has named former McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner as non-executive chairman of its board of directors. Mr. Skinner, who has been on the drugstore chain’s board since 2005, replaces Al McNally, former CEO of Harris Bank, who held the chair since 2009. Mr. McNally will remain on Walgreens’ board.

Walgreens has been on an acquisition tear recently. Last month it announced it had taken a 45 percent stake in a deal with Alliance Boots that gives it the option of buying the British drugstore operator in three years. Last week it made news by agreeing to purchase USA Drug and its 144 stores.

"Al McNally’s extraordinary leadership as our board’s first lead director and first non-executive chairman of the board was instrumental and indispensable as Walgreens advanced its transformation launched in 2008," Bill Foote, Walgreens board director and chairman of the nominating and governance committee, said in a statement. "As Walgreens moves forward with its strategy to become a U.S. and world leader in pharmacy-led health and wellbeing, Jim Skinner’s long experience on the Walgreens board, and decades of global success with McDonald’s in expanding to Europe and emerging markets, make him an exceptional choice to lead our board into the future on behalf of shareholders and stakeholders."

Walgreens’ pharmacy sales took a hit this year as a result of its breakup with pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts. The drugstore chain saw sales drop 3.3 percent in the last quarter with same-store numbers off nearly six percent in May.

Discussion Questions: What do you think of former McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner assuming the role of chairman of board for Walgreens? Do you think the drugstore chain is on the right path?

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7 Comments on "Former McD’s CEO Key to Walgreens’ Global Plans"


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David Biernbaum
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

I strongly believe Walgreens is on the right path with its recent acquisitions. The moves they have made seem very calculated vs. the random moves and acquisitions that were made by some other retailers over these past few years.

David Slavick
Guest
David Slavick
9 years 10 months ago

Seriously, that is the dumbest job title I’ve ever heard of. Who thought up that one? Regardless, Mr. Skinner is a brilliant leader and his contribution to the Walgreens BOD can only help, not hurt. Walgreens continues to roll out and evolve their local store merchandising strategy — depth and display matched to the needs of the neighborhood that each store serves. The upcoming launch of their loyalty program this Fall will draw great attention, but importantly will inform their marketing and merchandising strategies. Mr. Skinner’s sound operational and customer experience commitment thru years of practice at McDonald’s will help Walgreens, but it can’t overcome the blow from Express Scripts anytime soon.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

It’s hard to say how Skinner will do but I wish him well.

As to how they are doing, I’ll reserve judgment on that too until I see how things like the Affordable Healthcare Act — and the all but inevitable changes in healthcare delivery end up transforming the U.S. pharmaceutical market.

Roger Saunders
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

A great move on the part of Walgreens. Jim Skinner has been instrumental in helping Walgreens, as a dedicated board member, to transition through executive and operational changes at the firm.

Skinner brings a wealth of operational experience to the table, as his leadership at McDonald’s over the past 30 years has demonstrated. He has a knack of getting teams to “focus on the few,” and then execute better than anyone else. In a labor intensive, common world that both McDonald’s and Walgreens compete in, this type of steady, disciplined leadership delivers positive results.

David Schulz
Guest
David Schulz
9 years 10 months ago

It makes sense to tap some help from a respected individual with experience managing a global enterprise. Walgreens has wisely chosen to look beyond the US for growth, which is clouded by uncertainty in the domestic arena, an uncertainty that will last well beyond the November election ragardless of outcome.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

The loss of Express Scripts was a hit. The implementation of the new health care initiatives will have a major impact for Walgreens. These are new areas unrelated to anything McDonald’s may have faced, so it is difficult to assess how experience with McDonald’s will make a difference. The ability to assess an uncertain future and develop a competitive strategy that can be successfully implemented across thousands of outlets is a critical skill for future success. I wish Jim Skinner well.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

Nothing against Mr. Skinner — since I know absolutely nada about him, and little about Walgreens — but I’m (usually) dubious about selecting people based on generic qualifications like “global success”; many think if you can do well with one big company, you’ll do well with another, but I guess I just don’t buy it. Of course he’s also on Walgreens’ BOD, so it’s not exactly a random pick, but is that enough? Would he also be a good choice to lead Illinois Tool Works (of which he is also apparently a director)? I wish them well.

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